Mysticism, Magic, Theurgy and Magism
Written by Baal-Hiram
In order to understand the difference between magic and Theurgy, we should pay attention to another important yet widely misunderstood term -- Mysticism. What is Mysticism? Unfortunately, modern pop culture often associates Mysticism with Hollywood-esque CGI werewolves, vampires, cemeteries, and other laughable pseudo-occult imagery. However, Mysticism has got nothing to do with such childish things; it's far removed from the shock content repeatedly regurgitated by Hollywood and mass media.
If we were to define Mysticism according to its classical meaning, it is the Art of inner communion with God, through the heart of the mystic. Now what do we mean by 'heart'? When we talk about the 'heart' in Mysticism, we refer to the practitioner's inner nature, the focus of the essence of man as a spiritual being. This inner nature contains the luminous Divine Spark of God. It is the Spark of God, which God the Father of all Lights once breathed into Adam. This Spark is the true essence of each one of us. It contains the innate knowledge of God, the spiritual world, about its original purpose of the world, its original properties, qualities and powers, and about good and bad. It is from this Spark the voice of conscience comes. Inside the mysterious hieroglyphics of the Law of God, the most sacred secret of true occultism transmitted by all true and traditional occult orders, are inscribed. In the beginning, Mysticism teaches the adept how to get better at hearing the voice of conscience, how to approach its glow, how to find it inside yourself, how to increase it, how to burn the inner flame with the help of spiritual practices, which will not only help mystic in realizing his essence, but also in transforming his persona, fusing together all his personalities. This point requires some clarification. By personality we mean the way in which man exists in the outer world. This is a certain shell, a mask through which a person manifests himself in the external social world and interacts with it. More precisely, in the case of an ordinary person, homo vulgaris, through this shell or mask, very different personalities and sub-personalities act and manifest themselves. Please note that the common man is constantly changing. Submitting to fleeting aspirations and passions, desires and attachments, he perpetually changes his identities and personalities. For instance, as long as he is obsessed with the desire to buy a car, he acts as one personality. When this desire is fulfilled, he moves on to the next desire, for example buying alcohol. Having drunk an alcoholic beverage, he is a completely different person. When he awakens the next morning, his personality is different again.
All these personalities, without a shadow of doubt, are interconnected. More severe cases, in which these personalities are not related to each other, are the subject of study for psychiatrists. However, an ordinary man balances his whole life on the verge of losing the connection between his personalities and sub-personalities. Without going into questions about why this happens, and why it is so, we can only state the fact that none of these personalities and sub-personalities are truly real. The real and true personality of a person is only that personality, which is acquired by the transfiguration of the whole human nature with the light of the inner essence, the Divine Spark. However, the beginning of this transformation process is already present in that person who intended with the help of Mysticism and spiritual exercises to find this light in his heart. These rudiments are like seeds sown in a field. However, they can germinate only in case of gaining their true individuality. This germination is still associated with global transformation. If the old does not die, the new will not come to life. Similarly, a seed will not become a plant unless it leaves its former identity. Similarly, the rudiments of the one's former personality will not become the new and true personality until and unless they are transformed by the inner spiritual light.
Thus, by the aforementioned examples and analysis, we can understand that Mysticism is an inner spiritual path and the general techniques employed in the path are not mere rituals. The praxis of Mysticism includes prayers, meditation (from the Latin wod Meditatio, which means "thinking") and contemplations. This also includes various techniques for observing oneself, correcting one’s lifestyle and the like. However, remember that these are all just methods and the actual essence, basis and core of Mysticism is precisely the orientation toward communion with God. A true Mystic seeks to achieve communication with God. This communion with God, which is not sensual and not necessarily ecstatic, is the sole purpose of Mysticism.
For this reason, Mysticism should not be confused with simple ‘self-development’ and other currents of widespread pseudo-esoteric teachings, especially the New Age hocus pocus which is ubiquitous on the Internet. Despite the similarity in techniques, and even with the usage of the prayer, these New Age, self-development teachings cannot be recognized as Mysticism, since their goals are different from those of the true mystics. Likewise, in our reasoning, we should discard all that senseless and vulgar nonsense, which proclaims that God lives in the heart of every person. We confidently deny this absurdity. In the heart of every person is the spark of God, which is not God. God Himself is unmanifest, incomprehensible, impregnable, unknowable, invisible, intangible, and is nothing that we can imagine, and nothing that is not only in our visible world, but also what is in the invisible world. Therefore, without denying what we said earlier about the presence of the Divine Spark in our hearts, we should clarify more clearly what we are talking about. This spark is the Spark of that First Man, the First Adam, who was created in the image and likeness of God, and came out from God as a god himself, having at his disposal God's properties, qualities and powers, spiritual and divine.
After being endowed with the free will, Adam acted against the Will of God, imprisoned himself in matter, and created material bodies in his image and likeness, trying to isolate himself from the Glory and Light of God the Father of all Lights. Thereafter, him, along with his offspring, were trapped in the material world, and split into many sparks, which spiritualized mankind. Each of these sparks is endowed with free will and freedom of choice. This is one of the original Divine qualities and powers that, after his Fall, man has preserved. The second quality is mercy, but all the rest were unfortunately lost. Therefore, without delving into the Doctrine of Reintegration in this chapter of our book, we can summarize that the human heart contains the Spark, which can be called conditionally Divine, the Spark of the red god Adam, which is not the true God, the Father of all lights, but the demiurge god, which created the material world, and fell into it. It is precisely because of the likeness between the demiurge god of Adam and the God the Father of all Lights that we can make that connection with God the Father of all Lights, which we and all enlightened Great Masters of the Past are talking about. Therefore, you should immediately discard the meaningless statement that man is God. Man is the image and of the God, and only as a result of this can we only say that man is conditionally a god.
The reconciliation of the fallen god with the True God is the essence of Theurgy. All our discussion of Mysticism was necessary in order to say that magic does not include Mysticism. Magic is an instrument, and the presence, addition or absence of Mysticism into it, determines the vector of application of this tool. Imagine magic is an axe. The knowledge that with the help of an axe you can chop wood or put together bars for building a house sets the vector for its usage. The lack of such knowledge can lead to the fact that a person who has received an axe in his hands will chop off his hand, leg, or break his neighbor’s head. The knowledge on how to chop the heads of one’s neighbors with an axe will determine a completely different vector for using the axe. An intelligent reader will use these analogies for his magical work.
Firstly, magic includes all techniques of will training and personality development, but not pseudo self-development which we rejected above. A person must learn to deny himself momentary aspirations in order to achieve his goal. He must learn to accumulate and concentrate the mental and astral forces in himself, otherwise called the 'fluid'. This section of magic is called Mentalism, which teaches man how to accumulate power. The next discipline and the next stage of development teaches a person to use this power, the fluid, and dynamize the trained will. This section is called Magnetism, but it is divided into two parts: Magnetism itself and Hypnotism. Magnetism teaches us how to use the astral fluid whereas Hypnotism teaches us how to use the mental power, which is directed in both cases by the dynamized will of man.
The next section is concerned with Ceremonial Magic. Before embarking upon the praxis of Ceremonial Magic, a person must study occult laws, theories, axioms, terminology, basic concepts, meaningful works on magic, and the meaning of occult and general religious symbolism, that is, symbolism belonging to various world religions. The next section of magic is the interaction with the astral plane: projection of the astrosome, visiting various areas and spheres of the astral plane, studying the ceremonial processes in the astral plane without the participation of the physical body of the magician. This is where the general magical path ends. Further advancement is optional and depends solely on the presence of the mystical aspiration of a person, or the absence thereof.
Then, the Magic of Light implies cooperation with the Beneficial Angels and participation in their good work to enlighten humanity, to assist it and to resist the manifestations of Evil with the help of accumulated magical and occult knowledge and skills. We are not going to explain here what are the results of black magic. For those who wish to go to hell, we offer to go there on their own way without our interference. Speaking about the practice of Magic of Light, we invariably stand at the border of its intersection with Theurgy, and we should clarify how they are different from each other. But before we get into these explanations, we supplement all of the above with a slightly more detailed discussion of Ceremonial Magic and the sciences included in it. Ceremonial Magic includes the study and practice of Alchemy, which, whether operational or Spiritual, depends on a person’s personal predisposition. However, it should be noted that Spiritual Alchemy of the Western Tradition nevertheless refers for the most part to Mysticism.
Ceremonial Magic also includes the study and practice of Kabbalah, whether Jewish, Christian, it depends on a person’s religious predisposition. A reservation should also be made here, immediately indicating that the theoretical study of Kabbalah with the goal of knowing its magical symbolism lies within the magical path while the actual practice of Kabbalah is more connected to Mysticism with the exception of only some of its sections. This applies to both Christian and Jewish Kabbalah. Ceremonial Magic also includes the study of astrology, Talisman designing, evocation and invocation of spirits, the art of divination and prediction of the most likely happening future events using traditional systems, such as Tarot, Geomancy, Runes, or through astral vision, and the so-called clairvoyance, when the soothsayer, familiar with the astral plane, can see astral clichés and most of the possibilities for their manifestation. This also includes the study of the symbolism of the tarot cards and the philosophical content thereof.
All these occult disciplines that we have just designated relate specifically to magism. They are just a tool that can be used by a person with a variety of purposes. With the help of astrology, a person can make money and even calculate the events most favorable for harming his neighbor; with the help of operational Alchemy poisons can be created which can act at a distance, or that are invisible for chemical examination, being poured into a drink or food. Using Talisman designing just like using the help of spirits, a person can harm his neighbor in the most diverse way and satisfy his vanity and greed. With the help of Tarot, Runes and Geomancy, as well as using astral projection, you can make magical attacks on people and, in general, as we said above, all magic, like any tool, can be used to harm yourself and your neighbors. Theurgy cannot be used in this way.
Theurgy differs from magic in that way that the person does not act by himself, but with the help of a special ceremony, mostly consisting of prayers, through the use of sacred symbols, and he turns to the God for one purpose only: to realize His Will. If a magician follows his will, then a Theurg always does the will of God. Even when it comes to magic of Light, magician of Light directs his will in accordance with the will of God, while the task of a Theurg is to become a guide of God, a glove on the hand of God, the Father of all Lights. Theurgy is the Divine Work, the Work of God, and a Theurg is only an instrument in the hands of God. We see that the border between the Magic of Light and Theurgy is very thin. Only a small line separates the magician of Light, who voluntarily obeys the instructions of God, from a Theurg, who has surrendered to the power of God, allowing His Will to manifest through himself. But Theurgy is the highest spiritual art. You can practice it only after reaching the peak of spiritual perfection.
Unlike magic, Theurgy does not have any well-established, clearly fixed traditional earthly ceremonies. A Theurg is taught by God Himself, instructing him at the beginning through his angels, and then Personally, on how to conduct certain Theurgical Operations. Magism, on the whole, is based on observing the formulas, the sequence of actions, and the structure of the ceremony. Magism arose as a result of the fact that a Theurg's disciples were not always Theurgs themselves, and did not always consist in such close relationship and contact with God and his beneficial angels as to fully comprehend the Art of Theurgy. Not all the Theurg's disciples, or it is better to say that most of them, did not possess the virtue of self-denial, which is required in order to be a Theurg. As a result, the magicians of the Light, trying to achieve the same results as the Theurgs, began to reproduce Theurgy ceremonies, quite naturally having established a causal relationship between the ceremonies and the influence they exert. They decided, quite rightly, that by repeating exactly all the actions performed by a Theurg, they will achieve similar results.
Thus was born the magical tradition, but not immediately. It developed and evolved at different times, from different sources, but nevertheless it is a single tradition. So, we should summarize at the end of this article that the basis and foundation of magic is tradition, while the very essence of any tradition is nothing but magism. It is magism, that is, the idea of the importance of observing various laws, analogies, actions and the sequence of actions that should lead to a particular result, philosophically and logically justified, are the principle of tradition. We talk about this in relation to any tradition, from social traditions to occult and even Masonic traditions.
Author of the article © Baal-Hiram 330/660/950 Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraïm, 2011 г.
Translated into English from Russian by © Viktoria Polikarpova & Ankit Sinha, 15.09.2019